Diets Rich In Omega-3 ‘May Lower Alzheimer's Disease Risk'

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 3/05/2012 18:25 Updated: 3/05/2012 18:25

Those who eat plenty of fish (and other foods containing high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids) could be lowering their risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a recent study has suggested.

According to researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, the natural oily acid compound decreases blood levels of a protein called beta-amyloid, which is commonly linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists believe that when this protein forms, it clumps together in the brain, triggering the onset of the degenerative disease.

During the study, researchers studied 1,219 people over 65 who had no signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The participants were questioned on their diet, lifestyle and had their blood tested for levels of beta-amyloid.

Scientists discovered that the harmful protein was lower in the blood systems of those who consumed the most amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

They also concluded that a daily dose could reduce a person's chance of developing Alzheimer’s by up to 30%.

The study also looked at other nutrients, such as omega-6 fatty acids, mono-saturated fatty acids and vitamin E, C, B12 and D – however none of these had the same effect.

Scroll down to discover what lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent your chance of Alzheimer's disease...

Lead researcher Dr Nikolaos Scarmeas from the study, said in a statement, according to Fox News: "While it's not easy to measure the level of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain in this type of study, it is relatively easy to measure the levels of beta-amyloid in the blood, which, to a certain degree, relates to the level in the brain."

However, a leading Alzheimer’s charity is urging for more research into the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "While this study provides interesting clues that omega-3 fatty acids in diet may be linked to amyloid levels in blood, it doesn't show whether this directly translates to less toxic amyloid in the brain and a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.

“So far, research into omega-3 supplements for prevention or treatment of Alzheimer's in people has not shown conclusive benefits.”

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Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in oily fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel. Smaller amounts can also be found in nuts, some vegetables including Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach, and vegetable oils.

In the UK, 820,000 people are currently living with dementia.

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  • Lifestyle Changes To Help Prevent Dementia

  • Drink Decaffeinated Coffee

    A study at Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/01/decaffeinated-coffee-preserves-memory-diabetes_n_1246240.html" target="_hplink">decaffeinated coffee improves the brain's energy metabolism - linked to cognitive decline</a> - in those with Type 2 diabetes. "This is the first evidence showing the potential benefits of decaffeinated coffee preparations for both preventing and treating cognitive decline caused by type 2 diabetes, ageing, and/ or neurodegenerative disorders," said lead researcher, Dr Giulio Maria Pasinett.

  • Play Brain-Teasing Games

    Everyday <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/01/puzzles-and-exercise-help-beat-dementia-symptoms_n_1122502.html" target="_hplink">games, puzzles and tasks were able to postpone decline in cognitive function and the ability to carry out everyday tasks, in dementia patients, for at least a year</a>, according to research from the University of Erlangen in Germany, published in the journals BMC Medicine.

  • Eat Less

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/20/eat-less-remember-more-and-other-memory-boosters_n_1160584.html" target="_hplink">Eating fewer calories could help boost memory and cognitive function</a>, according to a study at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome. Researchers hope to mimic the same effect with a drug in the future, bringing hope to Alzheimer's sufferers as well as those suffering from injury-related memory loss.

  • Eat Fish

    Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre and School of Medicine found that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/30/eating-fish-protects-against-alzheimers_n_1120156.html" target="_hplink">people who ate baked or grilled fish regularly reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer's</a>. Reseracher Cyrus Raji said: "The results showed that people who consumed baked or broiled (grilled) fish at least one time per week had better preservation of grey matter volume on MRI in brain areas at risk for Alzheimer's disease."

  • Play The Wii Fit

    <a href="http://lifestyle.aol.co.uk/2012/01/17/why-a-wii-workout-could-be-better-than-the-gym-for-over-50s/" target="_hplink">Working out using virtual games such as the Wii Fit could slow cognitive decline in the over 50s</a>, researchers from Union College in the US found. Participants aged between 58 and 99 were given a 3D exercise game to play. Compared to the control group who were asked to use a regular exercise bike, the 'cybercycle' group had a 23% decrease in advancement of mild cognitive impairment and showed improved 'executive function'.

  • Do The Seven-Step Plan

    A study in The Lancet Neurology suggest that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/07/19/new-study-shows-seven-way_n_901934.html" target="_hplink">3m cases of Alzheimer's across the world could be prevented in seven simple ways</a>. The report recommends quitting smoking, increasing physical activity, controlling your blood pressure and diabetes risk factors as well as managing depression and obesity to help combat the disease.

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